Atatürk’s broken rib mentioned in Elon Musk’s message
On Nov. 10 Turkey commemorated the 79th anniversary of the passing of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey.
This year two pieces of news concerning the commemorative ceremonies enjoyed wide circulation.
The first was the banner adopted by some ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) organizations. “On Nov. 10 we will be at Anıtkabir [Atatürk’s mausoleum in the capital Ankara],” the banner said. Indeed, photos of AKP banners inviting citizens to Anıtkabir from all over the country were sent to news centers.
Speaking on TV on Nov. 9, I said I was happy to see conservative groups and the AKP embracing the shared value of Atatürk’s legacy. Many people criticized my words on social media.
Many of the critics were AKP opponents, who claim that the AKP is merely using Ataturk in order to benefit from a recent groundswell of popular support for the national hero.
Some viewers pointed out that the AKP avoided even using the word “Atatürk” until yesterday. They argued that this sudden need to show love ahead of the 2019 elections was just opportunistic and self-serving.
But I would like to use this opportunity to share a tweet, which I consider highly representative of certain conservative groups that are concerned by recent offensive statements made about Atatürk and his mother Zübeyde Hanım.
“We, those who try to think and live as conservatives, are bothered when Atatürk is criticized so savagely. With both good and bad points, Atatürk is our leader,” read the tweet.
American billionaire Musk’s Anıtkabir message
The second important piece of news was Canadian-American billionaire Elon Musk posting two photos from Anıtkabir on his Instagram account, taken during his recent visit.
In his first message, Musk only wrote “Atatürk Anıtkabir.”
Musk is already popular on Instagram and his posts generally attract between 200,000 and 300,000 likes but this post won him more than one million likes. Some 30,000 Turkish people from around the world thanked Musk for the post.
The second photo Musk shared featured Ataturk’s mausoleum. “I left the flowers. Three broken ribs, a pierced lung, and still he fought, for peace at home, peace in the world,” he wrote under it.
It is likely that Musk drew inspiration from Patrick Kinross’s book entitled “Atatürk: The Rebirth of a Nation.”
One chapter of the book narrates Atatürk falling from his horse when his horse flares up in Ankara’s Polatlı district during the Battle of Sakarya in 1921.
“His rib was broken and it was pressing against his liver. He was having difficulties breathing and talking. Despite his doctor’s warning, he carried on,” reads the passage.
After reading Musk’s message and remembering Kinross’s book, I felt a bit ashamed.
We live in Anatolia because of the sacrifices made by War of Independence heroes. Some people, however, claim that he fell from his horse after trying to mount it drunk, landing on a small pebble that broke his rib. They claim that he did not fight on the Sakarya and Kocatepe frontlines during the War of Independence and never gained a veteran title.
But Musk, who comes from thousands of kilometers away, was able to sincerely expressed his admiration for Atatürk.
It is encouraging to know that the citizens of this nation, young and old alike, who visited Anıtkabir on Nov. 10 to show their respect for Atatürk memory will always be there to counter malicious rumors.